Dovizioso to test Aprilia MotoGP bike as talks intensify
Dovizioso is currently on a sabbatical after being ousted from the factory Ducati squad at the end of 2020, as the relationship between he and general manager Gigi Dall’Igna soured.
The three-time MotoGP title runner-up was offered a race seat with Aprilia for 2021, but turned down the offer as at the time he felt it wasn’t the right situation for his career.
Dovizioso also had an offer from Yamaha to be a test rider, but turned his back on that as it didn’t leave the door open for his desired full-time race return in 2022.
Motorsport.com understands that negotiations between Aprilia and Dovizioso have picked up again since the beginning of February over the possibility of him joining the Noale marque as test rider. But following a strong showing for the new RS-GP at the Qatar pre-season test last week, Dovizioso’s curiosity about the package has increased.
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Aprilia announced on Wednesday that it will run Dovizioso at Jerez for a three-day test on April 12-14.
“I was pleased by Aprilia’s interest and when we spoke about the possibility of doing this test, I gladly accepted the invitation to be able to ride a MotoGP bike again and to stay in form, giving the engineers my feedback. I wish to thank Aprilia Racing for this opportunity,” said Dovizioso.
The state of Aprilia’s test team remains unknown, with Bradley Smith looking likely to quit the role after he was passed over for a race seat in favour of Lorenzo Savadori.
Aprilia explained earlier this month that this decision was based on company desires, but wouldn’t elaborate further.
“It was a pleasure to invite Andrea,” Aprilia Racing CEO Massimo Rivola said. “The days in Jerez will simply be a chance to get to know one another better, also on the track.
“It will not be a ‘trial matrimony’ but an opportunity to turn some laps together without any binding commitment for the future. We are well aware of all Andrea’s qualities and his contribution will be important, even for just one test.”
Dovizioso will be sharing the track with Yamaha test rider Cal Crutchlow for the Jerez test.
The Italian has remained committed to his training regime in preparation for a motocross campaign this year as he builds towards a 2022 MotoGP return.
Dovizioso had been linked to potential Honda outings at the start of 2021 while Marc Marquez continued recovering from his broken arm, as it was thought following the Spaniard’s third operation in December that he would need at least six months more of rehabilitation.
However, Honda quashed such talk by stating Stefan Bradl would act as Marquez’s stand-in if required – although it now appears the six-time world champion could well be on the grid for next week’s Qatar GP.